Statement on Afghanistan

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan as they face not only Taliban rule, which is garnering global concern, but also, importantly, the related and brutal consequences of twenty years of invasion, occupation, and warfare at the hands of the US military and its allies. Our commitment to an intersectional and transnational practice of feminist solidarity makes it particularly important to highlight the ways that women, children, and LGBTQ+ people have been cruelly used as hollow justification for the violence of war, as Lila Abu-Lughod and many other feminist scholars and activists have long observed. Laura Bush’s now infamous radio address in November of 2001 cast the invasion as a boon for Afghan women, and this framing has been replicated countless times over the last two decades. Today, we risk advancing such obfuscations if we do not situate the very real jeopardy that women, LGBTQ+ people, feminist, queer, and human rights activists, and ethnic minorities, among others, face within the context of the decades of violence and instability brought about in large part by US militarism and imperialism. We condemn all militarized violence directed at women, children and the LGBTQ+ community. As a research unit that prioritizes the study of women, feminism, and gender, we are aligned with a long tradition of feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial commitments that comprise the very foundations of our discipline. We echo our discipline’s primary scholarly organization, the National Women’s Studies Association’s “pledge to listen to and follow the lead of Afghan women leaders.” We call on the US government to use whatever means possible to create pathways for departure for Afghan people seeking to leave, to raise or remove admissions caps for refugees, and provide resources for relocation. We also commit to creating safe harbor for scholars, students, and teachers in our own university context.